HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie wants to expand access to psychologists for people suffering with mental illness.
Today, the PCs are introducing the Psychology Services Tax Credit Act, which will provide a tax credit to private psychologists who perform pro bono work.
“Some Nova Scotians with mental illness are unable to see a psychologist due to cost or availability. They are often left to suffer in silence,” says Baillie. “They end up at an ER in a state of crisis. We can do better for them. This credit is a step in the right direction.”
Research shows that treatments from psychologists are not only effective in improving mood and function, but also reduces medication costs and improves productivity.
Dr. Victor Day is a psychologist who is past president of Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia. He believes a tax credit would encourage psychologists to do more pro bono work.
“There’s a great need for more mental health services in this province,” says Day. “The public system is unable to meet demand.”
He says that Nova Scotia has a two-tiered mental health system now: those with sufficient means or insurance get good mental health service promptly while those without can’t get the attention they need.
“Preventing people from reaching a crisis is important,” says Day. “If you can see a psychologist early on, that’s beneficial. If you deal with things earlier, it helps prevent people from needing more emergency or more expensive treatment later. It saves the whole system money.”
Over 250 psychologists engage in private practice in Nova Scotia. The benefit is that high-risk, low-income patients will have more hours with a psychologist.
“By giving psychologists the support to help Nova Scotians in need, the pressure on the health care system is reduced and patients can get much-needed care before their mental illness become a crisis,” says PC Health critic Chris d’Entremont.
Today marks the start of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s 65th annual Mental Health Week. It runs from May 2-8, 2016.
View the video of the announcement below.